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Canned or Dry Cat Food - Which Type Should I Feed My Cat?

The question as to which is healthier to feed your cat, canned or dry food, really begins with the ingredient label. Both have supporters and opponents.

Many commercial cat foods contain a large amount of grain products in their dry foods. Your cat should be eating a diet high in animal protein in order to get all the nutrients she needs and grain products, though fine for some other nutrients, are not sufficient primary protein sources.

Additionally, cats in nature take in much of their necessary daily hydration through the food they eat. By feeding dry food, an owner must ensure that the cat is also drinking enough water. Dehydration is a risk for several different diseases including kidney disease and bladder stones; likewise, water is needed to maintain a cat’s healthy urinary tract.

Which Type Should I Feed My Cat?

Many owners prefer dry food because it’s thought by some to be less conducive to tartar and gum disease by cleaning teeth; however, no studies exist to prove such claims. And cats still require a visit to the veterinarian for a real teeth cleaning. If owners are reluctant to change to canned food for moisture content, they can add water to their cat’s dry food to ensure sufficient fluid intake.

Other issues to consider: canned food typically contains less grain sources, though they may still be present. Likewise, there are dry foods that have fewer grain ingredients. Additionally, some feline fanciers feel that the high heat processing required to make dry food destroys necessary nutrients; whereas, those nutrients are in greater abundance in wet food. Many cat owners balk at canned food because it is higher in calories; however, they can serve part of the can and not all. But many cat experts agree that cats are more likely to get fat on dry food with its carbohydrates, grain, fillers and coatings.

Also, canned food typically requires fewer preservatives, whether chemical or natural. The canning process can help guard against food spoilage that may be more common with dry foods in bags.

As a sort of middle-road philosophy on type of food, many cat owners feed a portion of both canned and dry to attempt to meet all of the cat’s nutrient requirements.


That is, of course, not to say that you cannot find healthy dry food with a whole protein source, less grain products but from more nutritious sources. You can, but you need to do your research and read the labels. Regardless of which type you choose, make sure you check the expiration date to ensure you’re buying fresh food.

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